Democrats have always been a party of special-interest factions without a lot in common, who work together by trading favors that each wants. This morning’s Politico Illinois Playbook perfectly captures the strange-bedfellow dynamic.
The first item is about Illinois’ notoriously corrupt House speaker, Michael Madigan, an old-timey machine pol who for decades has been the only figure who really matters in how Illinois is run. His daughter Lisa was the state’s attorney general for 16 years. Madigan is embroiled in a federal influence-peddling investigation so ugly that even a handful of Illinois Democrats have finally postured publicly in favor of him stepping down, but he’s going nowhere:
The unusual, late-night statement indicates Madigan, a master at counting votes, has the support of at least 60 House members. That’s what he would need to keep his speaker position, which comes up again in January. Before his announcement, seven Democratic lawmakers had called on the speaker to step down from his leadership roles rather than work under a cloud of suspicion. And he had spent the day calling caucus members to gauge their support. . . .
That it’s women in the caucus calling for Madigan’s exit isn’t lost on lawmakers. The sexual harassment complaints that dogged some of his aides in 2018 still haunt. Madigan fired his top lieutenants and now counts a woman as his chief of staff. But a “bullying environment” persists in Springfield, Martinez told Playbook.
Racial politics, the first refuge of the scoundrel, works in Madigan’s favor:
“He wanted to know if I was going to be calling for his resignation,” state Rep. La Shawn Ford told Playbook. “I said, ‘If you can affirm that you’re innocent and that you believe the investigation is not something that will lead to an indictment and conviction, then I’m with you.’” Others in the Black Caucus also stand by Madigan, and there’s good reason: The 22-member group is pulling together a “Black agenda,” a package of legislation being crafted after the police killing of George Floyd, much of which Madigan has endorsed. The members would likely prefer a trusted ally in the driver’s seat over a new speaker who may not help push through their agenda items.
Meanwhile, Ford is busy trying to purge the teaching of American history entirely from Illinois schools until it can be replaced with woke indoctrination:
Watch for State Rep. La Shawn Ford and Evanston Mayor Steve Hagerty to announce a new initiative to end U.S. history classes in schools until alternative programming can be developed that gives a full telling of how the United States came to be. “What’s being taught is inaccurate,” Ford told Playbook, pointing to Blacks being “wrongly” depicted only as slaves during the birth of the nation and women not being portrayed much at all. The debate over history classes is a national one too. Last week, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) set off a firestorm when he introduced legislation to bar federal funding for schools that use The New York Times’ 1619 Project. . . . Ford, Hagerty and advocates for women and Black, Latino, Asian, Jewish, LGBTQ communities and other groups are meeting Sunday to address contributions that have been “overlooked” by history books for decades. Instead of teaching “inaccuracies,” said Ford, teachers would do better to focus on civics. This country could use it.
It is not coincidental that the 1619 Project’s educational arm has trained its fire heavily on Chicago schools, where its curriculum was introduced in the fall. Expect more agitprop and misleading narratives. This is the Democratic coalition operating as it is designed.